February 12, 2019

The Marriage of Sarah and Jesus

Tabitha regarded her daughter with affection. She and Jamel had raised their daughter to be an independent woman. She was educated, spoke three languages, and often helped her father with patients. Like any virtuous mother, Tabitha was concerned her daughter would choose the right man to be her husband. Tabitha spoke with caution.

“What do you know about this man? What do you know about his parents?”

Sarah had regained her composure. Still, the words seemed to tumble out her mouth.

“He seems to be very responsible, he knows the law really well, he can read, he can do math, he does good work, he treats me.... he treats me as though I am someone special.... And I met his father. You and dad would like him. He is gentle and speaks well.”

“Where does he live?”

“He is from Nazareth.”

Tabitha frowned. Jamel had a very low regard for the people of Nazareth. Very parochial and overly superstitious, they were always a problem to treat when they came to Sepphoris for medical care.

“Well, it will be up to your father,” Tabitha said firmly “he has always wanted to select your husband, and you know that is the custom of our people.”

Suddenly despondent, Sarah pleaded with her mother.

“I have to convince him that Jesus is perfect.”

Sarah tugged at her mother’s sleeve. “Please mom, please help me,” she said quietly.

.............

As it happened, neither Tabitha nor her daughter had anything to do with Jamel’s decision. That’s because the next day, on a sunny and cool morning, he came to see the progress on his new house. Jamel wandered around the rooms, enjoying the aromas of fresh plaster and wood, talked with Decus, admired his mosaic work, and was delighted with the skill of the carpenters. Then he literally bumped into Jesus who was carrying a wood fireplace mantle into the big room.

“Oh, I’m sorry to be in your way,” Jamel apologized.

Jesus put down the mantle, turned to look at Jamel, and smiled. His father had described the physician when they started to work on the house. Because Jamel was Sarah’s father, Jesus was anxious to meet him. He extended his hand for a handshake, but suddenly remembered it was covered with dust and shavings. He was unsure. What should he do? But Jamel didn’t care about the dust and shavings; he gladly grasped Jesus by the hand and shook it vigorously.

“You must be Jesus,” he said “I’ve talked with your father many times. But now I have the pleasure of meeting his son.”

“The pleasure is all mine,” Jesus said politely “I am glad you are here.”
 
“And why is that?”

Jesus looked intently at Jamel and they connected.

“I have fallen in love with Sarah,” he said with quiet conviction.

Jamel was astonished by the charismatic emotional intensity of this young man. From somewhere in his consciousness a firm voice spoke out   This is the man.   Talk to him.

Jamel paused for a moment before speaking. “So you are the reason she has been so distracted these last three days...,” Jamel hesitated again, and then smiled warmly “we need to talk.”

Jamel started for the door to the courtyard and motioned for Jesus to follow him.

Both Decus and Joseph watched them go out into the courtyard with great interest.

“Well,” said Decus with a big grin “do you think he will pass the test?”

“I sure hope so,” replied Joseph with a knowing smile “this falling in love business has considerably slowed his production. I’d like to get it resolved.”

Decus chuckled. “He’s your son. He will do alright.”

***

Jesus and Jamel talked for almost an hour. When they returned Jamel looked up and called out to Decus who was placing ceramics on the villa’s ceiling.

“Should I let this young man have my daughter?”

Astonished by the question, Decus descended from the scaffolding. He thought for a moment and chuckled. Joseph was in the next room and Decus wanted to be sure Joseph would hear him.

“Of course!” he said in a deep loud voice “He has great promise!”

Jamel grinned. He was very pleased with Jesus. He could see they would have many long talks. Father to son-in-law. Jesus was not only intelligent, he was anxious to learn. 

Jamel left the room to find Joseph, who by now had given off a huge sigh of relief. It was settled. Mary would be very happy. And as for his son.... the happy look on his face said it all. He was totally elated.

***

Mary felt more confident after she met Sarah. Two weeks later, she walked with Joseph and Jesus to Sepphoris. There they met Jamel, Sarah’s father and Tabitha, Sarah’s mother. Sarah was very nice and easy to engage in pleasant conversation. Mary was also impressed with Sarah’s maturity and intelligence. Jamel and Tabitha were very pleasant, treated Mary and Joseph as good friends, and insisted they have lunch together. When Mary saw how happy her son was with his chosen bride, and her very obvious love for him, she felt a magnificent surge of her own private joy. This would work out. God would approve. 

The three women were soon engaged in an animated conversation about the wedding. Jamel and his wife did not think the customary betrothal period was necessary. Mary and Joseph agreed.

***

Jesus and Sarah were married in December, 12 AD. He was 16. Sarah was 17. The wedding was held at Jamel’s home in Sepphoris.
.................

Well.   Why not?

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